How to Start an LLC in Tennessee

Here are the 7 steps to start a limited liability company (LLC) in Tennessee

For more information on how to form an LLC in any state, see the article How to Form an LLC.

Find out how to form a Tennessee LLC for yourself

Learn about Tennessee LLC formation, including information on Registered Agents, naming rules, business licenses, and more.

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Creating an LLC in Tennessee

A limited liability company (LLC) offers many benefits to small businesses, including liability protection and tax advantages.

An LLC must be formed in Tennessee by file the Articles of Organization with the Tennessee Secretary of State and paying the starting fee of $300+ to file.

However, you’ll first need to choose a name and registered agent for your Tennessee LLC . The formation of an LLC may take up to online in 24 hours, or by mail in 3 to 5 business days.

An LLC can be easily formed in Tennessee. Our step-by-step guide on how to start an LLC in Tennessee will help you get started today. Find out more about LLCs and their benefits in our What is an LLC guide.

How to Start an LLC in Tennessee

Step 1. Choose a Name for Your LLC Tennessee

Creating an LLC in Tennessee requires you to choose a business name before you can file a Articles of Organization. Be sure that your business name complies with the Tennessee naming requirements and can be searched by potential customers.

  • Tennessee law requires an LLC name to contain the words “Limited Liability Company” or “Limited Company,” or the abbreviations “Ltd.,” “LLC,” or “LC.” “Limited” may be abbreviated as “Ltd.” or “LTD,” and “Company” as “Co.”
  • It is not acceptable for your Tennessee LLC to have words associated with a government agency (FBI, Treasury, State Department, etc.).
  • You should avoid using words or abbreviations that may make your LLC Tennessee appear to be a different type of entity, such as “LP” or “corporation”.
  • There may be additional documentation and licensure paperwork required for certain restricted words (bank, lawyer, attorney, credit union, etc.).
  • Check the state’s business name database to ensure the name you want is not already taken(including businesses no longer in operation)

See a complete list of Tennessee naming rules here.

Check URL availability: You are likely to need a web page even if you don’t think you do. Buying your domain name now will at least give you the option of having one in the future. It’s a good idea to check the URL availability before finalizing your Tennessee LLC name.

Recommended: Consider setting up a business phone service after securing a domain name for your Tennessee LLC to establish credibility and improve customer satisfaction.
 
Wise business plans offer a variety of features for businesses, including Toll-free numbers, Coverage in US and Canada, team messaging and more. Try our business phone services today.

DBAs are primarily available to corporations, LLCs, LPs, and LLPs under Tennessee law. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are expected to conduct business under the proprietor's or partners' names. To learn more about DBA, read our "What is a DBA" Guide.

By filing an Application for Reservation of Limited Liability Company Name (Form ss-4228) with the Tennessee Secretary of State, you can reserve a name for four months. A reservation requires a $20 filing fee. The reservation can be made either online or by mail.

An LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company. A simple business structure that is more flexible and offers many of the same benefits as a traditional corporation. For more information, see "What is a Limited Liability Company?".

Step 2: Appoint Your Registered Agent in Tennessee

Your next step in forming an LLC in Tennessee is to appoint a Registered Agent, an individual or company authorized to receive legal and state mail on your behalf.

All Tennessee LLCs must have a registered agent. Please include your registered agent’s name and address on your Articles of Organization.

Registered Agent Requirements in Tennessee

To comply with Tennessee law, your LLC’s registered agent must be a resident or business entity that maintains a physical address in Tennessee. The “registered address” cannot be a P.O. box. It must be a real physical address that can be visited in person.

Although you do not have to submit this form to the Secretary of State, your business must record it. Learn more about Tennessee Registered Agents by reading our full guide.

A Registered Agent must be a Tennessee resident or a corporation authorised to do business in Tennessee, such as a registered agent service. You have the option of electing someone from your company, including yourself.

You must pay the change of agent fee in addition to the annual report fee if you change your registered agent on the annual report form. Changes to your Tennessee registered agent can also be made by amending your corporate charter or articles of organisation.

Are You looking for a Registered Agent?

Wise Business Plans offers a free year of registered agent service when forming an LLC in Tennessee.

Step 3.Prepare and File Articles of Organization

To create a Tennessee LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization (Form SS-4270) with the Secretary of State. You may apply online, by mail, or in person.

There is a $300 filing fee. You must send the original and a copy of your certificate if you file by mail.

You will receive a duplicate form back from the state once it receives your documents.
It may take up to 3-5 business days to process a mailed submission.

If you choose one of our business formation plans, we can handle this step for you.

The following information is typically required to create a Articles of Organization:

  • Your LLC name and principal place of business.
  • Name, address, and signature of the LLC’s registered agent
  • Decide whether your Tennessee LLC will be member-managed or manager-managed. Indicate the names and addresses of each member and manager.
  • The reason for forming the LLC in Tennessee.
  • Name and address of the LLC’s organizer.
  • The effective date of the certificate,
  • The person forming the LLC must sign the Certificate.

Foreign LLCs: LLCs that are based in another state but intend to conduct business in Tennessee must complete a form called the Qualification of Foreign LLC.

The Certificate of Authority Application costs $50 per member ($300 minimum/$3000 maximum)..

Two Ways to File the Articles of Organization

The 1st option is:

Online filing through the Tennessee Secretary of State

The 2nd option is:

Filing the Form SS-4270 by Mail or In Person

Address to Mail

There is a state filing fee of $300+ Payable to the Tennessee Secretary of State by check, cashier’s check, or money order. (nonrefundable)

6th floor – Snodgrass Tower
Attn: Corporate Filing
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave.
Nashville, TN 37243

All members (owners) are involved in decision-making in a member-managed LLC. You, the owner, are the manager of a single-member LLC. Major decisions, such as loans and contracts, must be approved by a majority of the members.

When an LLC conducts business in the state where it was formed, it is called a "domestic LLC". We normally refer to an LLC as a domestic LLC when we talk about it. When an existing LLC wishes to expand its business to another state, it must form a foreign LLC.

The formation of an LLC may take up to online in 24 hours, or by mail in 3 to 5 business days.

Step 4. Get a Certificate From the State

Upon filing your Articles of Organization, the secretary of state will review it. As soon as the Articles of Organization is approved, the LLC becomes a legal entity.

By obtaining this certificate, LLCs will be able to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), licenses, and business accounts.

Step 5. Write an Tennessee LLC Operating Agreement

An operating agreement is a legally-binding document that sets out how your LLC will operate, from the voting process to mergers.

Operating agreements are not required in Tennessee, but they are an essential part of your business.

Written operating agreements are helpful for different reasons, including resolving disputes over financial agreements and other potential litigation.

The LLC declaration can prove that your LLC is a separate entity, which can help preserve your limited liability.

An operating agreement ensures that all business owners are on the same page and reduces the possibility of future conflict.

How should an operating agreement be drafted?

The operating agreement should detail the LLC’s overall business purpose and other important matters, such as how the company will be taxed and how new members will be accepted. Legal agreements can clarify several important concerns, such as:

  • Who makes decisions for the company, especially those who decide if partners disagree.
  • Who is responsible for different aspects of the business as well as for strategic decisions.
  • If a partner leaves the company, what will happen to their ownership interests in the corporation.
  • The members and their contributions
  • How profits and losses will be divided
  • Procedures for admitting new members and removing outgoing members

In Tennessee, you can include just about anything in your operating agreement, as long as it doesn’t violate the state law or the Articles of Organization  .

Although it is not required, a single-member LLC in Tennessee should document an Operating Agreement because it gives the company more legitimacy and protects the members' personal assets, just as it does with multi-member LLCs.

No, you don't have to file your operating agreement with the state of Tennessee. Your LLC's internal document should be kept on record, as stated in Tennessee law.

Step 6. Get an EIN for Your Tennessee LLC

Basically, an employer identification number (EIN) is a social security number for your LLC in Tennessee.

To identify your LLC for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service assigns a nine-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for your EIN either by mail or online.

An EIN is used for the following purposes:

  • Manage state and federal taxes
  • Create a business bank account
  • Hire employees

Get an EIN Number in Tennessee

Getting an EIN number is easy and free, There are two ways to get an EIN number in Tennessee.

The 1st option is:

Apply online for an EIN from the IRS

The 2nd option is:

Get an EIN by Mail or Fax

Address to Mail

Mail to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, OH 45999

An EIN is required for any LLC with employees or more than one member. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires this.

A tax classification will be discussed with you when you obtain an EIN. In most cases, LLCs choose the default status.
Some LLCs can reduce their federal tax obligation by electing S corporation status. Consult with a local accountant to find out which option is best for you.

When converting from a sole proprietorship to an LLC, the IRS requires a new EIN.

Step 7. File Annual Reports

The Tennessee Secretary of State requires all Tennessee LLCs and foreign LLCs authorised to do business in the state. Annual reports must be submitted by the first day of the fourth month following the end of the LLC’s fiscal year.

If your LLC’s fiscal year ends on June 30, for example, your annual report is due on October 1. The report is due by April 1 if your fiscal year is the calendar year. Annual reports can be submitted either online or by mail.

Fee: The filing fee is $50 per member, with a $300 minimum and a $3,000 maximum. (Nonrefundable)

Due date: The first day of the fourth month following the end of the LLC’s fiscal year is the deadline.

Late Fees: Tennessee does not charge late fees if you miss your filing deadline, but failing to file an annual report for 60 days will result in your LLC being dissolved or revoked.

Are you Looking for Tennessee LLC Formation Service?

Get the easiest and fastest Tennessee LLC formation online with Wise business Plans.

What to do After Forming Your Tennessee LLC

Keep your personal and business assets separate

Your personal assets (such as your home, car, and other valuables) may be at risk when your Tennessee LLC is sued if they are mixed with your business accounts.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your LLC in Tennessee:

1. Open a Bank Account

As soon as your LLC is officially formed, you should open a business bank account. Why? Keeping separate bank accounts will help you maintain the legal distinction between the LLC and you (the owner).

Because LLCs are limited liability companies, creditors and litigants can’t take your assets.

It is essential for small business owners to partner with the right bank. Find out which banks offer the best business checking accounts, have low or no fees, ATM accessibility, and interest-earning accounts as well as online or mobile banking tools. 

Recommended: Check out our business bank account page to learn which banks offer the best business check accounts, ATM access, interest-bearing accounts, and online and mobile banking options for businesses.

2. Obtaining a business credit card:
  • Allows you to separate personal and business expenses.
  • Develops your company’s credit history, which can be helpful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later.
3. Hiring a business accountant:
  • It prevents your business from overpaying taxes while preventing penalties, fines, and other costly tax mistakes.
  • Gives you more time to focus on your growing business by simplifying bookkeeping and payroll.
  • Manage your business’s funding more effectively. Find out where extra profit or loss can be made

Getting Business Insurance for Your LLC

You can manage risks and grow your LLC with business insurance. Here are the most common types:

  • General liability insurance protects your business from lawsuits. Most small businesses purchase general liability coverage.
  • Professional liability insurance protects professionals and businesses from claims of negligence from their clients or customers. Liability insurance typically covers negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance: Covers illnesses, injuries, and deaths resulting from a worker’s work.

Ready to Protect Your Business

Let us help you with your business insurance needs.

 

  • General business liability insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Term life insurance
  • Workers’ Comp
  • Surety bonds
  • Commercial auto

Create Your Business Website

A website is an important step in legitimizing your business. It is essential for all businesses. You are missing out on a large percentage of potential customers and revenue if you don’t have a website, even if your business is too small or in an offline industry.

More than 90% of consumers begin their search for products and services online. If you don’t have a website that is ready to welcome your customers, then they will simply find your competitors.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • Every respectable firm has a website. When it comes to getting your firm online, size or sector isn’t a concern.
  • Creating a basic website has never been easier, thanks to website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder. To design a website, you don’t need to hire a web designer or developer.

Recommended: If you want to enhance your conversion rates and maximize revenue in order to help expand your business and meet objectives, you should always hire a professional business website design company to build your business website.

Wise Business Plans is a leading web design company, We have created over 2000 + websites across 20 countries for our clients but we are physically based in 7 major cities in the United States including Alabama web design, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Iowa, Michigan and San Diego.

Tennessee LLC FAQs

The Secretary of State in Tennessee charges $50 per LLC member included in the filing, with a $300 minimum total fee. The filing fee for the Articles of Organization cannot exceed $3,000. When paying by credit card online, a convenience fee will be added.

The formation of an LLC may take up to online in 24 hours, or by mail in 3 to 5 business days.

The first step in dissolving a Tennessee LLC is to file Form SS-4246, Notice of Dissolution (Limited Liability Company) with the Division of Business Services of the Tennessee Department of State (DBS). You must file the appropriate Articles of Termination after filing the notice of dissolution and winding up your business.

In section 1 of the articles of amendment, you can change the name of your Tennessee LLC.

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